Venezuela's government will investigate Hugo Chavez's death, provisional leader Nicolas Maduro said Tuesday, suggesting the country's beloved leader might have been "poisoned by dark forces that wanted him out of the way," according to local news reports cited by Reuters.
"We will seek the truth," vowed Maduro, Chavez's chosen successor and temporary leader, saying investigators will even bring foreign scientists on board, reported Reuters.
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It is widely believed that Chavez's death on March 5 was caused by cancer, but this has not been confirmed. Chavez underwent a critical operation in Cuba in December and was still in recovery at the time of his passing.
Maduro said it was too early to say what kind of cancer Chavez had, but observed that laboratories in the United States had "advanced techniques" capable of manufacturing such illnessness, according to press reports quoted by Russia Today.
Chavez was the first to suggest he might have been poisoned, according to Reuters.
"Would it be strange if [the United States] had developed a technology to induce cancer, and for no one to know it?" Maduro said on the eve of Chavez’s death, reported Russia Today.
The accusation comes as US-Venezuelan relations hit a new low, with both countries expelling each other's diplomats over the past week.
Critics accuse Maduro of using Chavez to distract citizens from the upcoming April 14 presidential election, according to Reuters.
Tuesday marks Venezuela's last formal day of mourning, said Russia Today.